Posted by: ilanasmith | May 15, 2008

Russians: 1, Ilana: 0

When I got my new Aussie passport, I bitched and moaned about the fancy RFID chip.  I lamented my compromised security and bought it (though not me, strangely) a tin foil hat.  I shut up after the first time I swanned through Immigration in Sydney in about three minutes.

Similarly, I would mildly grumble to myself about living in a Schengen country and the barrenness of the pages of that fancy passport.  It’s not brag-worthy! 

This week has been my Sydney Immigration Line Moment about open borders.

So I’m doing a grand Baltic tour next month and need a visa to go to St Petersburg.  The Russians don’t make this easy.  You have to be issued an invitation, write a letter, fill in a form, provide proof of medical insurance.  It’s not fun.  Then you have to give all this over to the Russkies for them to ponder for two weeks while they decide if they’re going to let you have four days in their country spending money.

The two weeks requirement was about the sixth problem encountered.  With all these public holidays, and my common weekend pastime, it was a bit tough to find a 10 business day period when I could do without my passport.  Things got timed a little fine.

About the twelfth problem encountered is that the Russian consulate in Copenhagen doesn’t accept visa applications by mail.  You have to go there in person. This isn’t such a big deal for me, it’s a vague detour from my morning commute. (It’s rather close to Dennis’ place, actually.  I guess it really is Embassy Row.)  Rather a bigger deal if you live in Jylland.

Problem eighteen is that they only have limited consulate hours.  On Tuesday, I rocked up about an hour before they were due to close (which is at the grand old time of 11:30am), forms in hand, all ready to do my in-person equivalent of a mail drop.  I waited.  And waited.  I didn’t even get off the footpath and into the driveway.

And so I learned my lesson.

On Wednesday, my progress was much better.  I arrived half an hour before they opened, waited for three hours, and made it so far that I got to be the first person that they turned away when they shut up for the day.   The guy from Jylland behind me had to change his flight and book a room.

And so I learned my lesson.

Today, I turned up an hour and a half before they opened.  The coffee cart driver who comes by the queue now considers me a regular.  After spending a cumulative total of seven hours waiting, they let me in the door, I dropped off my papers, paid my cash, and left.  It would have been less than seven minutes.

And I get to go back again and line up to pick it up!

Meanwhile, Yammy has been gloating about receiving his visa already.  He just chucked all his stuff into the mail, made a few pointed remarks about being their Slavic comrade, and called it done.



  1. Did you forget to include your communist girl scout photo with your application? Oh dear. That’s going to be a problem.

  2. Unlike some people, I was not a communist scout.
    But dude.  My name’s "Ilana".  I’m one of their peeps.  They should’ve totally let me in before any random fellow communists.

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